Mr Lee* had been feeling unwell and began eating porridge at mealtimes, causing his family to be alarmed at his sudden change in appetite.


They asked him what was wrong, to which he complained about an odd, painful sensation on his tongue. They insisted he go to the hospital for a check-up, and a week later, in August 2021, Mr Lee was diagnosed with Stage 4 tongue cancer.

Mr Lee’s son, Dan*, 19, shared that the sudden bad news had been extremely devastating for his family. At the time at which Mr Lee was diagnosed, Dan, along with his mother and his younger sister, were based in Penang, Malaysia for school. However, upon receiving news of his father’s prognosis, they moved to Singapore to care for him and to demonstrate their full support.

Times were tough due to Covid-19. When SCS came to know of Mr Lee’s case, welfare assistance, such as cash aid, was provided to Dan’s family, to tide them through the difficult period. Other support measures included a bridging fund of $100 NTUC vouchers, SCS Cancer Care Fund in November 2021, as well as SCS Transport Assistance between their home and the hospital. In addition, to assist with the children’s transition from Malaysian to Singapore education, Dan and his sister were provided with refurbished laptops from Singtel, coordinated by the SCS Welfare Team.

Mr Lee passed away in March 2022, just seven months after his diagnosis. Dan admitted that coping with the loss has been a tough process, and they have yet to get over it.

“My father was the breadwinner”, said Dan, “but beyond that, he also made jokes and danced around to make us happy.” 

Losing him took a financial toll on the family as well. Dan’s mother, who had been a devoted housewife her entire life, had to return to work. Although difficult at first, she has gotten used to it and is currently working in a warehouse. Dan is also working, to save up to further his studies and to help his sister with her school fees. He also contributes to the household income.

SCS continues to aid the family, with Dan’s sister enrolled in the SCS Help the Children and Youth Programme. The one-on-one home tuition she receives helps her to catch up with her studies, as she tries to assimilate to the secondary school education in Singapore. 

Finally, Dan provided some words of advice to families dealing with similar situations. 

“If your family member is still around, encourage them to fight on regardless.” 

*not his real name




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